Cross one more pitcher off the Phillies' wish list.
The Chicago Cubs announced yesterday that they acquired righthander Rich Harden, who threw eight shutout innings against the Phillies on June 26, and righthander Chad Gaudin from the Oakland Athletics. The Cubs traded pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, and minor-leaguer John Donaldson. Chicago made the trade one day after the Milwaukee Brewers introduced Cy Young winner CC Sabathia to their rotation.
But the Phillies are not in a panic because Sabathia and Harden are off the board. They still think they can add pitching help before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"If we can make a move to improve our situation, that's certainly what we're going to continue to try to do," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. "We're going to try to be aggressive."
The Phillies were aggressive in their pursuit of Sabathia, but they did not have the young power hitter the Cleveland Indians required in the deal. They had some interest in Harden but were much more focused on Sabathia because the Phillies considered him the only A-list pitcher available.
Now the Phillies have to comb the B list, which could include Seattle Mariners lefthander Erik Bedard and Toronto Blue Jays righthander A.J. Burnett. The Phillies have scouted Bedard this season, though his next start has been pushed back because of tightness in his left shoulder.
The Phillies seemed willing to part with some top prospects for Sabathia, but it was unclear how far they would go to get a player like Bedard or Burnett. Arbuckle said it was unlikely they would trade a top prospect - double-A righthander Carlos Carrasco falls into that category - for a "run-of-the-mill fifth starter."
Arbuckle also said the Phillies were not focused only on starting pitching. That makes sense because righthander Tom Gordon is on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness.
"I think we can win with what we have," Arbuckle said. "Ideally, we'd like to upgrade. It doesn't make sense to make a move just to make a move."